Tuesday Teaser May 27, 2014: Wolf’s Lady Part 20
This is, once again, almost late. Mea Culpa! I was crazy busy yesterday with Wolf’s Vengeance’s release. However, here it is. Again, please remember that this is raw, with absolutely no editing, so there will be typos and other errors. Enjoy!
Sand didn’t like the look of the mayor’s house. From what he could see above the thick wall that enclosed it, it was more of a stone fortress than a house.
Sky nodded at the man who came to the gate in the tall, thick wall. “Good morning, Arthur. This is my cousin, Sand Wolfe. We have a meeting with the mayor this morning.”
The man looked them over with no expression. “You’re expected, Mr. Wolfe,” he finally said, and directed two men to open the heavy gate.
It was habit that made Sand automatically catalogue how many guards there were at the gate in the tall stone wall, and how many more were positioned along the wall and in the grounds, and how they were armed. He figured there were at least twenty, but probably more, around the back where he couldn’t see, and they all carried heavy batons perfect for cracking skulls, as well as guns and knives. They could be trouble if he and Sky needed to leave in a hurry.
Sky walked confidently over the decorative gravel drive to the house. Out of the corner of his mouth he muttered, “Remember to keep quiet unless you are asked a question. Answer honestly, but do not mention your wolf.”
Sky had already said that several times during the half hour it took to walk here. “I remember.”
“And quit tugging on your tie like that; you’ll ruin the knot.”
Sand lowered his hand to his side, remembering his mate’s hands twisting the length of fabric into a complicated pattern at his throat, and her heady scent so close to his nose. Another guard answered the front door. This one wore a suit, but Sand saw the outline of a gun beneath the coat.
“Mr. Wolfe,” he said, with a little bow. “Please come in. Mayor McGrath is in the library.”
It was cool inside the house, but Sand began to sweat anyway. He followed Sky to the back of the house, past half a dozen armed guards into a room with a fireplace, a round table in the center, and books on the walls. Another time he might have liked to look at the books, but now all he saw was the smug, oily face of Terry Askup. Just as his lip began to raise in a snarl, Sky jabbed his elbow into his side. Terry, seated at the small table, tilted his head with a smile that made Sand yearn to punch his fat mouth. Sand subsided and watched the other man rise from the table to shake Sky’s hand.
“Sky,” he said warmly. His hair was brown with lots of gray, his body tall and going soft around the middle, his smile wide, with too many teeth showing. He reeked of cologne. Sand’s hackles, barely smoothed after sighting Askup, threatened to rise again. His wolf didn’t like this man, or his perfumed scent. “Thank you for coming.”
Sand shot a glance at Sky. They’d had a choice? His cousin took the mayor’s hand with a smile as falsely cordial. “Thanks for setting the investigation here instead of at City Hall.”
“I think we can get things settled a little more quietly, don’t you? There’s no need for formality.” The mayor sent Askup a quick frown before he turned the wide, too perfect smile on Sand. “And you must be Sand Wolfe.”
Sand allowed the mayor to pump his hand up and down and hid his distaste behind a cool nod.
“Let’s all sit down and make ourselves comfortable. Coffee?”
Sand declined, Sky accepted. He sat in the leather arm chair and forced a calm, polite expression on his face. Sky and the mayor wasted a few minutes exchanging pleasantries about the mayor’s wife’s delicate health, the weather, and some upcoming social event that Sand couldn’t care less about. Askup didn’t seem to care either. His stare was fixed on Sand with an unpleasant smirk twisting his lips.
The mayor set his coffee cup down. “So, let’s get down to business, shall we?”
“Certainly,” Sky said, leaning back in his chair with supremely relaxed smile. In the years he’d been away from the Pack he had become a fine actor. Sand thought that was sad. At the den Sky had never used a word like ‘certainly’.
“Terry has made a complaint about treatment he received at your house a couple of weeks ago. He tells me Mr. Sand Wolfe threw him out without explanation when he had a long-standing appointment with Miss Amanda. He incurred some physical injuries during the encounter.”
Sky just kept smiling. “Naturally the House regrets any inconvenience to Terry. We always have reserved the right to cancel appointments at the lady’s discretion. Amanda has canceled all her appointments for the foreseeable future.”
Askup sneered at Sand. “Because he threatened her if she didn’t?”
Sand barely controlled his wolf’s snarl, but forced himself to keep his mouth shut as instructed.
“Not at all.” Sky crossed lifted an ankle to the opposite knee. “Miss Amanda is taking some time to consider if she will accept Sand’s marriage proposal.”
Askup slapped a hand on the table. “Now, see? That’s just wrong. Amanda is my fiancée.”
Only Sky’s foot slamming down on his kept Sand and his wolf from exploding. Sky was still smiling, but the smile took on a fiercer curve. “I believe you are mistaken, Terry. You asked Amanda to be your wife, but she declined.”
Under the overpowering reek of the mayor’s cologne Sand caught a whiff of Askup’s self-satisfaction.
Askup waved that off like it was smoke irritating his nose. “Every woman wants to be pursued, especially a whore.”
Sand’s wolf nearly took over. He fought to keep the wolf back. Sky lost the smile and the relaxed posture. He shot up straight in the chair. “We never use that term for our ladies.” His voice was almost pleasant; his face was not. “I would appreciate it if you’d remove that word from your vocabulary.”
Askup laughed heartily. “We’re all men here. We don’t need to pussy-foot around the name. Speaking of pussies…” He leaned forward, his lips shiny with spit, to leer at Sand “Have you tasted Mandy’s? I don’t usually like to eat pussy, but Mandy’s is worth it. Just hearing her beg me to go harder when I stick my tongue up her–”
Sand’s control broke. With a howl he lunged over the table, hands closing around Askup’s throat. He’d barely begun to squeeze when Sky’s arms dragged him back, forcing his grip to break. Vaguely he realized a dozen men had poured into the room, but he didn’t’ care. He just wanted to feel Askup’s blood on his tongue.
“Let me go!” he growled.
“Calm down,” Sky commanded in Alpha tones. It took a few moments of hoarse panting for Sand to identify Askup’s scent. Gloating triumph didn’t show on his face, but the scent was clear. The townsman reeled out of his chair, clutching his reddening throat.
“See? He’s a dangerous, out-of-control criminal! I want him arrested for assault!” he demanded.
Was that regret on the mayors face? He gestured to the guards standing around Sand and Sky. “Place Mr. Sand Wolfe under arrest and take him to the city cells.”